National Insurance cut - Top tips for recruitment

One of the most significant costs of employment is being reduced as a result of the government's 2013 Budget.

Last month the Chancellor announced that businesses would receive up to £2,000 off their National Insurance Contributions bills. It is hoped that the move, which will be more than offset by changes elsewhere in the tax schedule, will encourage more small business owners to hire.

While a lower NI bill will be welcome news for many small businesses, this is not the only aspect to consider when recruiting. Are you encouraged to hire an employee because of the change? If so, we've compiled some tips to help you get started.

1. Understand the cost

Although the cost of hiring has now been reduced, it is important to understand that recruitment remains a resource-intensive task. The first stage, of course, is to ensure that you can pay your new employee's wage, along with the concomitant tax liability. If you cannot, you should consider alternative solutions such as contracting with third party suppliers to carry out specified work.

In addition, though, you should remember that recruitment also involves a time commitment. It is important that you budget your time properly, and that the recruitment process does not damage your core business.

2. In-house or outsourced

Many businesses choose to enlist the services of a dedicated recruitment company to help them hire new employees. Professional recruiters can be a major boon, particularly if you lack the time to carry out the process yourself. You should remember, however, that professional recruitment can be very expensive - indeed, it can be prohibitively costly for small businesses.

As such, it is common for small firms to carry out the recruitment process themselves, and there is nothing to stop you doing so. If you are considering contracting with a recruiter you should seek a number of quotes and, where possible, try to deal with a recruiter that specialises in your industry.

3. Define the role

You cannot hope to find the right person for the position until you have properly defined the parameters of the position itself. Take some time to work out exactly what it is that you need. Draw up a comprehensive job spec. This will be the basis for your recruitment effort. This isn't just about finding the right person - it's about identifying precisely what it is that you require in your firm, and about ensuring that your resources are dedicated to that end. There is a wealth of job specs available if you need some guidance. A good place to start is LinkedIn, on which job postings are freely available. Again, try to find one in your industry to work from.

4. Devise an interview strategy

The interview is one of the most important aspects of the interview process. It is vital that you go into interviews with a firm idea of what the candidate will be expected to achieve. Work out a firm set of questions, pertinent to the specific role, that you will ask each candidate. In addition, be ready to explore the candidates' individual strengths and weaknesses, rather than sticking rigidly to a script from start to finish. If candidates are being interviewed by more than one person, make sure that you share this information in advance.

5. Set aside time

Finally, it is important to remember that the work doesn't finish when you've found the right employee. You should ensure that you set aside enough time to see them 'bedded in'. There will be new processes for them to learn, and it is important that you dedicate enough resource to allow them to do this efficiently.

Good luck!